Editor’s note: This article was originally posted Jan. 3, 2012. It has been updated with the most recent numbers from the Ohio State Highway Patrol and republished to help you drive safely this winter.
From December 2011 through March 2012, the Ohio State Highway Patrol reports that there were 15,526 crashes on snow, ice or slush-covered roads. About 4,500 people were injured in those accidents, and 27 were killed. Speed was reported as a cause in 72 percent of those accidents.
This is less than the year before, when there were 37,429 accidents during those months.
The state Highway Patrol and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) have offered some tips for driving safely in the snow and items you should keep in your car in case of an emergency.
- Allow extra time to get to your destination, maintain a safe distance between your vehicle and the traffic ahead, pay close attention to bridges and overpasses because they freeze first.
- If your car breaks down, turn on your hazard warning lights, get your car as far off the road as possible and call 1-877-7-PATROL for help. Stay in your car until help arrives.
- Stock your car with the following items in case you are stranded: cell phone with car charger, road flares or reflectors, "help" or "call police" signs, first aid kit, flashlight, blanket/sleeping bag, small shovel, bottled water and energy foods, candles and matches, tow strap/chain, rock salt, and sand for traction.
- Minimize travel and keep a disaster supplies kit in your vehicle for when you do have to drive.
- Get updates on traffic and weather before you head out by checking the Ohio Department of Transportation's website.